I want to share a lesson I learned recently. I made a huge mistake last month. I went to Costco on a Saturday. No, not just a Saturday. I went to Costco on a Saturday during the holiday season… With a three year old. I will confess that I was not exactly in the brightest of spirits and after looking for a parking spot for at least ten minutes and parking on the other end of the mall, you would think that the lesson I learned was just not to go to Costco on a Saturday. Especially when exhausted from a teething baby who won’t sleep.
Truth be told, and here’s where it starts to get embarrassing, I actually sat in my car and started to cry I was so overwhelmed and feeling like I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to 2018 if I can’t even make it through a simple shopping trip (did I mention the exhaustion? because seriously, nothing messes with your mind like a NO-SLEEP-ATHON) But before turning the car around and going home, I called my husband tearfully and he told me just what I needed to hear. He suggested I make it a game with myself to see how many ways I could delight my son during what could easily turn into a nightmare shopping trip. Long walk to and from the car? Opportunity for an adventure! A chance to practice looking both ways! Or spot cars of a certain color, or imagine you’re on a safari… Those were the examples he gave me and I sniffled an agreement as I unbuckled the car seat and headed inside.
What I learned that day was what I continue to learn day after day- that life looks a lot more fun through my children’s eyes. Let’s start with the fact that the sheer size of the store is amazing to them. Then add in the way the ordinary becomes extraordinary from their perspective. Too many people crowded into the aisles? Chance for the three year old to pretend he’s driving his car in a traffic jam!
(And a chance to make mom smile by complimenting her driving while things are VERY BUSY) The more I started paying attention to his wonder, the more excited I became to find simple, everyday things around us to turn into memories or games of some sort. Trying to check things off my grocery list became a game of guessing how many peanut butter sandwiches we could make with a jar that big. Going in to the frozen and refrigerated section became an opportunity to imagine how Santa lives at the North Pole.
And let’s not forget the truly magical part of Costco on a Saturday: SAMPLES. Usually this is the prime reason I avoid shopping during busy times. People can get strangely ugly when free stuff is up for grabs- even if it is stuff they don’t particularly want in their daily lives. I’ve had trips where I thought for sure fights were going to break out over who got to eat the last sample pizza bite. But having resolved to make this shopping trip awesome for my kid, I slowed down, adjusted my attitude, and delighted in the way his eyes lit up when he got to try something as simple as a piece of toast and jam. And the best part? Seeing that his delight was contagious not just for me, but for the formerly grumpy looking shoppers around us. And if a worker ran out of samples, it was just as fun for my little guy to give a high five or to wait a little while as he introduced himself to the employee and loudly proclaimed he was hungry and so excited to anyone around who would listen. One shopper told me my little boy had made their day, and that in turn made mine. And that’s perhaps the greatest lesson of all- my kids still see opportunities to interact with people as a joy instead of how I had started looking at it- as an energy drain.
I walked out of that store a revived mama. And I’m walking into 2018 with a resolution to treasure the everyday wonders a little more, to try and glance the world through the eyes of my kids, even something as ordinary as a crowded shopping trip. And I’m promising myself to never cry again over an opportunity to get out of the house with my kids… hey, we all need at least one challenging resolution, right? Here’s to everyday adventures…